You wouldn’t think that something as simple as a mason jar (or any kind of jar for that matter) could be the key to having some fun with your family but I have several ideas to share with you.
Flickr, Nourishing Cook
~ When I was little, my mom used to create a job jar. She’d put jobs that needed to be done around the house (ones suited to my age and abilities) on little slips of paper in jar and I could draw one out as a random way of being assigned a chore. The thing is, intermixed with those jobs were some fun activities so I never knew just when I might be pulling out the chance to play Monopoly with my mom (a BIG treat since she despises the game), pick the tv shows for the night, or be taken out for ice cream among other things. You could also do this with two different jars – one for chores, one for fun. After picking and completing X number of chores, your child gets to draw one out of the reward jar.
~ I also remember when I was a kid and I was complaining to my mom about being bored. It was summer, I had been out of school for about a month and was starting to get fidgety. So she sat down with me and together we made an “I’m Bored” jar. She asked me to come up with ideas of some things I like doing, things I had always wanted to try but hadn’t yet, and some things that I liked but hadn’t done in a while. She would help me come up with ideas and suggest some new ones as well. We used two different colours of paper – one for things I could do on my own, one for things Mom and I wanted to do together.
~ As gifts to various friends and family members, I’ve created “Hugs in a Jar” (for a teacher friend it was called An Apple a Day and all the slips of paper were apple shaped – there are lots of variations you can do here). I filled a jar with slips of paper, each one containing a special thought. It might be something I loved about them, it might be inspirational quotes, it might be words from the Bible. For my daughter’s boyfriend’s 22nd birthday, she gave him this same kind of idea but with 22 things she loved about him in it. You could put enough in the jar for the person to pull out one per day, one per week, or just fill with a random number for them to choose whenever they need a little bit of love from you. These make great gifts for faraway family as well.
~ At Christmas, I made Advent jars. There were activities written on holly leaves, one for each day of Advent and my daughter was able to choose one for us to take part in. They were all cosy family holiday type activities to give us time to pause in the busy season and take time with each other as well as time to enjoy some special Christmas traditions. Of course, there were a few activities for which I had to buy tickets or which were only occurring on specific dates so for those I used paper of a different colour and wrote the dates on the outside so that we’d know exactly when those needed to be used.
Flickr, how can I recycle this
~ Journal jars are fun for the whole family. There are many sites online where you can find ideas of what kinds of questions to put on the slips of paper. Of course this can be done as a solo activity, but it can be fun for each person to draw a question from their jars and then share their answers orally with each other before putting them into their journals. Much laughter and reminiscing and touching moments can be had this way.
~ When my daughter was younger, I would wrap some jars with paper or fabric so that you couldn’t see inside of them. I would label them “Fun in a Jar’” and fill them with things like all the components needed to create a small craft or a small homemade game (create a gameboard on some paper, fold that up and put it in the jar along with dice or a spinner and something to use as game pieces) or even something like one of those “cookie mixes in a jar”. When we needed some family time, she could unwrap a jar and we’d spend the afternoon working on whatever was in it. You can do this same thing with activities more suited to being done individually and use them as a special treat for when your child is ill or bored.
~ I still think it’s fun to give someone “fun in a jar” – hence the prevalence of sites and blogs filled with “gift in a jar” ideas. There’s something about opening up a jar (you can always use special boxes or tins if you want to mail them safely) and finding some kind of special goodie encased inside. For my mom, I’ve sent her a jar of “Quilter’s Candy” (little squares of quilting fabric and then some other quilting supplies mixed) as an “I love you” from faraway and when I couldn’t be around a friend for their birthday, I gave them a birthday cake in jar. What could YOU put in a jar to pass a little love along to your family?
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